Friday, March 23, 2012

Decisions, decisions

The other day, it rained like crazy for a couple of days.  Here in central Texas, when it rains like that, things get boggy.  And we're not quite used to boggy.  We're sure used to hot, and we're used to sunny.  This ain't Seattle, folks.  Every afternoon, we're used to the same thing.  Backpack, bathroom, outside, iPad. Over and over, I'll say it on the way home so that Ryan knows what's coming.  And if he doesn't get to do one of those things, I change it up and emphasize the change in hopes that I'm averting a crisis.  

Tuesday it was finally through raining, and I decided to get out the kids' mud boots and let them kinda splash around in the backyard.  I pictured splashing in puddles, possibly we pants and knees.  I pictured the kids going about their usual backyard play as they enjoyed the wetness but appreciated the dryness of their feet.  And I must confess that I fully expected them to be the most grateful three kids you've ever seen.  "Oh mom, you're so fun!  Thank you for giving us this opportunity, mother.  Now here are our wet boots.  We're going to go inside and play in our still mostly dry clothes." 

Um, no.  

It was full-on mud wrestling.  Thank God I was smart enough to change them into clothes it was more okay to get yucky.  They had a blast, but were stripped outside and shoved straight into the shower as soon as we got in the house.  I think I rescued the clothes, pretty much.  And while I wouldn't call it a mistake, I would definitely say that it might not have been the most shining example of my decision making skills.  The did have a blast, and Mr. Sensory seeker absolutely loved sitting (yes, sitting) in the mud, squishing it between his fingers.  

So I didn't quite blow it, but it might not have been the best idea ever.  And it sure didn't go the way I thought it would. 

In the six (almost seven, holy cow) short years of Ryan's life, we've been faced with countless decisions. Each one seems monumental.  Each one, in its own way, IS monumental.  We do our best to make the decisions about therapies, techniques, even day to day decisions about how to handle a trip to the store, but there are times when it seems like we're forced to grope in the dark, eyes closed, bracing for the impact.  There are times when that's just the best we can do.  Brace for impact.  We're not even sure what questions to ask.  One person, doctor, or other professional will think one thing is horrible, while another praises and hails it as the best thing since sliced bread... or maybe even fire.  The first big decision we had to make that we didn't see coming was to have surgery for glaucoma, to widen Ryan's tear ducts so his eyes could drain.  We were told that without the surgery he'd go blind.  Period.  Easy, right?  Sign us up.  Surgery it is.  Not to say it wasn't scary, but at least there was a clear answer.  At least there was a clear question, a definite, defined, tangible problem. 

Then the behaviors cropped up, and the decisions became more nebulous... and even the questions seemed to hide from us.  One of the first and hardest to accept was to send Ryan to school at barely three years of age.  He turned three on May 30, Richie was born three days later, and the next week I pushed little Richie in the stroller with my post-op gait to see Ryan into his first day of ESY (extended school year).  Not the first day of school I imagined.  Not nearly even close.  But we were grateful for the opportunity, and have been since.  This little guy, as tiny as he was, started school.  

Little bitty Ryan on his first day of ESY... isn't he precious?

We remained in PPCD (preschool program for children with disabilities) for three years, and then went to kindergarten with much fear on Mama's part.  He has done so well, and we are so proud of him!  And now it's time to start thinking about first grade.  Oh gee.  First grade.  I must say we're thankful to be in the district we're in, because acceptance of kids like Ryan is pretty easy to come by so far.  But how do you pick a teacher?  Someone asked me the other day if I'd thought about it, and my answer shocked her a bit.  I know we have great first grade teachers, and we certainly don't have any bad ones.  So my first response was, "well, I want someone to have him who WANTS him."  Because really, whoever is his teacher will see him a lot, and if he or she wants to have him, make him fit, challenge him, include him, get to know him, and love him, they will.  There will be the guidance, in our district, to do that.  To learn.  And we'll be involved, so that's not a problem.  

But what if no one raises their hand?  What if we have to pick someone based on what we hear, what the other teachers say, etc.?  I told Eric the other day that I feel like we almost need an interview process.  And we can't afford to get our feelings in the way.  This has to be an intellectual decision in so many ways, and it seems like another one of those scary decisions.  

So we'll do our homework.  We'll listen, we'll share, we'll keep the concerns and needs out on the table and in the open.  Really, there are bigger decisions looming on the horizon, because honestly, I still don't feel like we do enough for him.  My greatest fear in this is that we'll miss something major, or make the wrong decision, or that we'll get to the end of the road and see that if we'd just done this one thing, everything would have been okay.  

So as we do our homework, as we seek wisdom, as we decide on this and so many other things, we'll pray that God will reveal what we need to do, that He will guide us and lead Ryan and keep him.  We'll keep praying for all of our kids, that they'll become the people He made them to be, and that we'll be the parents we need to be.  We'll keep asking that the Lord reach through the noise and guide us to the right things, because this process, even the everyday decision making, is often cloudy and noisy.  

Richie loving on his hero.

Thanks be to God for his guidance, his providence, and oh my word, for our sweet children.  

Hello Lord, it's me your child. I have a few things on my mind. Right now I'm faced with big decisions, and I'm wondering if you have a minute. . Chorus: Right now I don't hear so well and I was wondering if you could speak up. I know that you tore the veil so I could sit with you in person and hear what you're saying, but right now, I just can't hear you. . I don't doubt your sovereignty, I doubt my own ability to hear what you're saying and to do the right thing, and I desperately want to do the right thing. . Chorus . Somewhere in the back of my mind I think you are telling me to wait, and though patience has never been mine, Lord I will wait to hear from you. 

~by Sara Groves

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